[Health] Plan Management Navigator

January 2011

By Douglas B. Sherlock, CFA
Senior Health Care Analyst

Dear ME-P Readers and Subscribers,

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At the risk of appearing overwhelmed with New Year’s enthusiasm, we think this edition of Plan Management Navigator is especially interesting:

1. We report on the cost decisions made by low cost Blue Cross Blue Shield plans. Low cost plans make decisions that differ from their higher cost peers. Hallmarks of these decisions include levels and distributions of expenses between functions, the levels and distribution of staff between functions, the levels of compensation and its distribution between functions and the distribution between functions, and levels of, non-labor expenses. Overall, low cost Blue Cross Blue Shield Plans have “tactical” administrative expenses that are $5.75 PMPM, or 30%, lower than their higher cost counterparts. These tactical expenses are all administrative expenses excluding medical management and sales and marketing.

Last month we published a similar study of the choices of low cost Independent / Provider-Sponsored Plans. Low cost health plans had tactical costs that were 36% lower than their peers, or by $6.39.

A more detailed version of either of these analyses is available to licensed users of each of our benchmarks. Please call us for further information if you have an interest.

2. We introduce a new service on our website that will enable you to determine how a health plan is doing relative to the 2010 benchmarks. You can select your universe and then determine whether you are high or low and, if so, by how much.

3. We invite you to participate in the 2011 benchmarking study. We are now forming universes. We think that, under pending MLR rules, participation is very timely.

Link: Navigator January 2011

Thank you for your continued interest in our research.


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